Understanding the Different Tongue Problems-Part I

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The tongue is typically referred to as the strongest body muscle. But, it is actually comprised of a group of muscles that help us in performing simple tasks like tasting food, swallowing, as well as talking. And any problems with this essential mouthpart can significantly affect the overall oral health.

Here is an insight into the different tongue problems that can affect the oral health:

White Tongue: A Common Condition

This condition occurs when the tongue develops a whitish coating or white spots. This may occur due to a number of reasons:

Leukoplakia

Leukoplakia tends to cause oral cells to experience excessive growth. As a result, white patches are formed in different parts of the mouth, including the tongue. While leukoplakia doesn’t have severe consequences, this condition may show up as a symptom of cancer. If there is an experienced dentist examining the mouth, he/she will try to determine the actual cause of these abnormal patches on the tongue.

Thrush

This yeast infection can badly affect the mouth. The condition is characterized by white patches and usually affects infants as well as the elderly, particularly people who wear dentures or those who have weak immune systems. Diabetics and asthma patients may also experience thrush. This condition is also associated with antibiotic use, which is why, consuming natural yogurt after antibiotic use is highly recommended. Furthermore, medicines are also used for combating such infections.

Lichen Planus

A network of upstretched white lines on the tongue characterizes this condition. It’s difficult to determine the actual cause of the condition, which usually gets treated on its own. It is important to follow proper dental hygiene practices, preventing tobacco use as well as limiting irritation-causing foods.

Strawberry Tongue: What Causes the Condition

A number of factors can make the tongue pink or cause it to become red. In fact, there are cases when the tongue looks like an enlarged strawberry. The condition may be caused by a number of factors. For instance, people who are deficient in vitamin B-12 or folic acid may experience this condition.

Another cause of this condition is having a geographic tongue. A person with the strawberry tongue has a map-like design of red spots on his/her tongue’s surface. Although this is typically considered harmless, the dentist should be consulted for investigating red patches that last more than 14-16 days. If the dentist confirms that the redness is a symptom of geographic tongue, further treatment isn’t needed. However, if the patient experiences discomfort, topical drugs may be used to ease the pain.

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